If you're a fan of the Jersey music scene, you've got to see Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock & Roll which tells the story of the rise, fall and rise again of this great Jersey shore town and the timeless music that not only was made there but continues to be made.

"Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock & Roll," directed by Tom Jones with Tom Donovan as executive producer, is narrated by New Jersey 101.5's own Big Joe Henry, who came on my show to talk about it.

"This is part of not only New Jersey history but rock & roll history," Henry said, who explained how Bruce Springsteen became a part of the documentary.

"Two years ago the movie showed up at the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival at which time Tom Donovan had a problem getting Bruce involved, we told him about it along with Steve Van Zandt but Bruce wasn't in that much of it."

Big Joe continued:

"Well the night of the premiere, I'm sitting there and 4 rows behind me is Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Van Zandt, Bruce Springsteen sees the movie and he goes 'I gotta be in this, this is my life,' so Tom Jones recut the movie, did the interview with Bruce at the Upstage and he was Bruce kind enough to lend his music rights and things to the movie."

The movie covers the early days of Asbury Park, "The list of acts that were playing Asbury Park is a who's who of rock & roll period," Henry said. "And also, if you go across on the west end, the biggest names in R&B and jazz were playing over there"

What did Big Joe learn about Asbury Park?

"What I loved about it is the camaraderie among the musicians, that I kind of knew about but didn't realize how deep it went. And that Upstage which was a great club that ran from '68-'71 was really an integral part of bringing musicians together. Guys like David Sancious and Clarence and Vini Lopez and Bruce and really all these guys ended up in Hall of Fame along with Stevie Van Zandt."

Now it's those musicians, as well as others who pay the music forward at the Lakehouse studios, where you never know who will drop in to jam with and teach the kids.

"What I'm really so happy with is the Lakehouse and what the music movement has done right now to the Asbury Park Music Foundation which does a phenomenal job in presenting programs to those young kids, where the arts programs have been eliminated in schools. Now this exists in Asbury Park."

Like everywhere else, COVID-19 has taken a toll on Asbury Park. What does Big Joe think about that?

"It's so tough to get money to fund these programs. The Asbury Park Music and Film Festival was canceled until next year and a majority of the money goes to the Asbury Park Music Foundation, so the foundation has taken a big hit. The Lakehouse has taken a big hit, hopefully, we can get them together"

You can download "Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock & Roll" for free here, and they ask for donations here. It's well worth it.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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